If your kid is asking for a science-themed birthday party you should count yourself lucky. “This may be one of the most fun parties for a parent to throw,” says Patricia Zutman, owner of All Four Seasons Events. “There are so many fun things that both adults, and kids, can do when it comes to science.” It’s not really a question of what you will do, but how much cool stuff can you pull off.
We suggest starting by creating a lab. The moment the kids arrive have them change into white lab coats, safety goggles, shoe covers, and personalized nametags using elements from the periodic table. From there you can lead them into the birthday laboratory — somewhere that you can clean easily like the kitchen or backyard, and let the testing begin.
One very big reason science-themed birthday parties are popular is that they are so very easy to decorate (just look to Pinterest for evidence). You can scatter test tubes and beakers filled with colored water; tie balloons together to form various molecules, atoms, and double helix structures; and have a few bowls of dry ice evaporating in several large bowls (just make sure the ice is out of reach of the kids because it can burn them). Then, make the room as white as possible with tablecloths and other decorations to give you that lab look.
The whole idea of the party is to get the kids involved in creating stuff and getting their hands dirty — that’s what science is all about. A kid favorite is to create “oobleck” — a non-Newtonian substance made when you mix 2 cups of cornstarch with 1 cup of water and a little dye for color. The resulting mixture is a blast to play with since it exhibits the properties of both a liquid and a solid. Kids can slowly dip their hands into it, but if they hit it its solid. If you really want to go over the top you can fill a kiddie pool with it and they can actually walk on water — but be warned you want to play with this where you can hose off hands and feet later.
Another favorite it to make a Mentos Geyser where you dump half a pack of Mentos into a 2-liter bottle of Diet Coke, the resultant fountain of liquid will get them screaming, this is another one to do outside. There are hundreds of small experiments you can do with the kids that both you and they will love.
Keep the scientists fueled with bacteria bites (sliders) and fruit molecules (fruit on skewers). When it comes time for dessert you can let the kids make their own ice creme sundaes using different ingredients pre-loaded in test tubes, or offer them plastic Petri dishes filled with different colored Jell-O and gummy worms. Even though it sounds fun, be wary of topping the cake with sparklers, they could lead to unwanted burns and tears.
The Party Favors:
When they leave, hand everyone their own toolbox gift bag to work with filled with syringe writing pens, notebooks, bubbles, and other science-based toys to add to the overall feeling. It’s probably best to avoid sending kids home with small science kits that require parent supervision — the instinct of most kids is to tear into a goodie bag before they leave the party.